Guidance for facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities during COVID-19 provincewide shutdown for persons with disabilities
Read the rules that facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities in regions in shutdown or Grey-Lockdown zones have to follow for persons with disabilities.
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Access to facilities for persons with disabilities
Pursuant to recent amendments made to O. Reg 82/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID‑19) Act, 2020, facilities for sports and recreational fitness activities may open to enable individuals of all ages defined as having a disability under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) to access public or private indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities for physical therapy if:
- they have written instruction from a qualified regulated health professional; and
- when the physical therapy is not available elsewhere
The following regulated health professionals have the authority to provide written instruction for physical therapy: physicians, nurse practitioners, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, chiropodists/podiatrists, chiropractors, and kinesiologists.
In some cases, a regulated health professional may need to perform physical therapies for persons with disabilities at public or private indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities.
It is not always necessary to have a regulated health professional perform physical therapies. In some cases a person can engage in physical therapy independently, with access to the proper facilities, based on previous instruction from a regulated health professional.
The person with a disability who has written instruction for physical therapy, would be permitted to engage in physical therapies independently or accompanied by support persons, and/or service animals, if required. Persons with disabilities, support persons and facilities would be required to follow all public health instructions.
Access to a public or private indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facility should be sought only when access to hospitals or other treatment centres is unavailable.
Persons with disabilities would need to determine whether there are any other facilities that may be open for physical therapy during the provincewide shutdown.
Persons with disabilities who have a written instruction for physical therapy from a qualified regulated health professional would contact a public or private indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facility directly to inquire about using the facility for the purposes of physical therapy.
Requirements for opening facilities
It is not mandatory for operators of public or private indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities to open for the purpose of providing access to persons with disabilities who need to engage in physical therapy; indoor/outdoor sports or recreational classes remain prohibited.
However, facilities are encouraged to consider the requests of persons with disabilities within their communities to help remove accessibility barriers in accessing critical physical therapy services. Facilities that open would be helping to address community needs and accommodating persons with disabilities based on human rights obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code.
If the facility opens for this purpose, it must be able to meet all the public health and workplace safety measures including health and safety protocols in order to open the facility.
Persons with disabilities may contact their municipality for a list of municipally owned and operated indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness facilities.
They may also contact sports and recreational facilities and/or businesses directly to determine if access to facilities is possible during this time.
Public health advice, recommendations and instructions
Refer to O. Reg. 82/20 Rules for Areas in Stage 1 for details.
Public and private facilities for indoor and/or outdoor sports and recreational fitness activities must operate in compliance with the advice, recommendations, and instructions of local and provincial public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting, masking, screening, and capacity limits.
Facilities would be required to check with their local public health unit for any additional advice, recommendations or instructions and have safety protocols in place.
All facilities operating during the provincewide shutdown must have a COVID‑19 workplace safety plan that is available to anyone who asks to see it and post it in a place where it can be easily seen.
The person who is responsible for a facility that is open, shall ensure that the facility operates in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act and the regulations made under this legislation.